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British Prime Ministers Questions

News/Business. British Prime Minister David Cameron answers questions.

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Britain 8, Syria 5, Scotland 5, Edward Miliband 5, Europe 4, Us 4, England 3, Algeria 3, United Kingdom 2, Russia 2, Washington 2, France 2, America 2, Dorsett 1, Anna Harrison 1, David Cameron 1, Benjamin Harrison 1, Graham M. Morris 1, Russell Brown 1, Rebecca Harris 1,
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  CSPAN    British Prime Ministers Questions    News/Business. British Prime  
   Minister David Cameron answers questions.  

    February 3, 2013
    9:00 - 9:35pm EST  

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and then they discuss the future of the republican party. david kill betterburg, editor of homeland today talks about immigration and home laws as well as border patrols, strategy and technology. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> at age 65 she was the oldest first lady when her husband became president but never set foot in washington. her husband, benjamin harrison, died just one month after his inauguration. meet anna harrison and other women who served as first lady over 44 administrations in c-span's new original series, first ladies, influence and image. their public and private lives, interests and influence on the president. introduced with the white house historical association, season one begins february 19, on c-span, c-span radio and c-span dot oregon on february 18. >> british prime minister david
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cameron was in algeria wednesday for talks concerning the recent hostage situation that left six brittons dead and made a surprise visit to libya. he took questions from the british house of commons in his weekly question time session which topics included state of the economy, housing benefits for veterans and a proposed tax increase on beer and alcohol. this is 35 minutes. >> order. questions to the prime minister. alison seabeck. >> thank you, mr. speaker. this morning i had meetings with mine tieral colleagues and others and in addition to my duties in the house i will have other meetings today. >> alison sea beck. >> i'm hear to speak, it right a mother in his constituency should not speak of the bedroom tax and confirm why her minister be able to offer her son, serving in the magesty's armed forces either a home or a
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bedroom on his return from duty? >> the reforms to housing benefit that we're putting in place, i'll very happily look at the case, as the honorable lady says. but the reforms that are put in place have a very clear principle of the heart. there are many people in private rented accommodation who do not have housing benefits and can't afford extra bedrooms and we have to get control of housing benefits. we're now spending as a country $23 billion pounds on housing benefits and we have to get that budget under control. >> rebecca harris. >> do my honorable friend welcome today's news that university applications for u.k. universities are up 3.5% this year, their highest level ever for disadvantaged students. >> i think my honorable friend makes a very important point about the figures that have been released this morning. after all of the concerns that were expressed about the new way of paying for university
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finance, reducing the number of students applying for university, the number of 18-year-olds has actually gone up and it is at level now where it was in 2011 which is higher than any year under the last labor government. >> edward miliband. >> mr. speaker, in october the prime minister told me that when it came to the economy, and i quote, the good news will keep coming. after last week's gross figures, it obviously hasn't. what's his excuse this time? >> as the right honorable gentleman knows, g.d.p. in the third quarter of last year went up by .9% and as forecast by the budget of office responsibility it fell in the fourth quarter by 0.3%. only honorable members opposite could cheer that news. but i think the right honorable gentleman should listen to the governor of england who said
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this, our economy is recovering more slowly than we might wish but are moving in the right direction. the falling unemployment numbers quickly back that up. >> edward miliband. >> an extraordinarily complacent answer from the prime minister. does he understand the scale of his failure on growth? they told us in autumn 2010 that by now the economy would have grown by over 5%. can the prime minister tell us by how much the economy has actually grown since then? >> there's absolutely nothing complacent about this government and that is why we're cutting corporations back and investing in enterprise zones, a million apprenticeships have perhaps started under this government. let me point out to him what is actually happening in our economy. one million new private sector jobs. in the last year alone, half a million private sector jobs, the fastest rate of job creation since 1989.
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that is what is happening. but do we need to do more to get the banks lending, to get businesses investing? yes, we do, and under this government we will. >> edward miliband. >> mr. speaker, just for once, why doesn't he give us a straight answer to the straight question. growth was not 5% as he forecast but north -- the part-time chancellor is about to give him some advice. i have to say to the part-time chancellor, he should spend more time worrying about our economy and less time worrying about how to divert high-speed rail routes away from its constituency. we've had a flat lining, we had a flat -- i have to say, he shakes his head. but what does his council leader say? your m.p. -- >> mr. ellis, you are a distinguished practicing barrister. you wouldn't behave like that in the courts, don't behave
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like that in this chamber. calm yourself and be quiet. learn p, man! edward miliband? >> i am embarrassed. because he knows the truth. growth was not 5% but .4%. and a flat economy means living standards are falling. his execute is that other countries have done worse than us. so can he confirm that since the chancellor's spending review more than two years ago, out of 20 major g-20 economies, britain has been 18th out of 20 for growth? >> first of all, let me say on high-speed rail which goes right through the middle of the chancellor's constituency, we're proud of the fact that this government has taken the decision to invest. just as if this government that is building cross rail which is the biggest construction plan anywhere in europe. now, he asked about other european economies. the fact is it you listen to the european union, the oecd,
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or the i.m.f., they all point out that britain will have the fastest growth of any major economy in europe this year. but i have to ask him, what is his plan? we all know it. it's a three-point plan, more spending, more borrowing, more debt. exactly the things that got us into the mess in the first place. >> i have to say that we have got used to that kind of answer from the prime minister. he promises a better tomorrow and tomorrow never comes. that is the reality. and he couldn't deny the fact that we're 18th out of 20 countries. we've done worse than the u.s.a., worse than canada, worse than germany, worse than france because of his decisions. now, last week, the chief economist of the i.m.f. said this. he said, if things look bad at the beginning of 2013, which they do -- and he was talking about the u.k. then there should be a reassessment of fiscal policy. so, mr. speaker, after two years of no growth, can the
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prime minister tell us whether he thinks he should do anything differently in the next two years? >> well, first of all, i would say that he should listen to the managing director of the i.m.f. who said this -- she said this, when i think back myself of may 2010 when the u.k. deficit was at 11%, when you were in office, right? and i tried to imagine what the situation would be like today if no such fiscal consolidation program had been decided, i shiver. that is what the i.m.f. says about the plans of the last labor government. now, he raises the issue of growth. >> order! >> it is not acceptable to shout down either the prime minister or the leader of the opposition and the public have a very low opinion of that kind of behavior. let's hear the questions and hear the answers. the prime minister? >> he raises the issue of america and american growth. the fact is our recession was
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longer and deeper than the recession in america. the biggest banking bust was not an american bank, it was a british bank. they want to talk about tomorrow because he doesn't want to talk about yesterday when the two people responsible for the regulation of the bank and the performance of our economy are sitting right there on the opposition benches. >> once again, a completely incompensable answer, mr. speaker. i think basically, the answer he didn't want to give is more of the same, more of the same that is not working. and he mentioned borrowing, mr. speaker. he's borrowing $212 billion pounds more than he promised. now, last week, he told the country in a party political broadcast that he was, and i quote, paying down britain's debts. but the debt is rising. and he has borrowed $7.2 billion pound more so far this year compared to last year. won't just admit, it's hurting
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but it just isn't working. >> if the right honorable gentleman thinks there's a problem with borrowing, why does he want to borrow more? the institution for fiscal studies says that labor's plans would basically add $200 billion pounds to britain's borrowing. he has made absolutely no apology for the mess they made of the economy. he's whole message to the british people is give the car keys back to the people who crashed the car in the first place. they didn't regulate the banks. they built up the debts. we're clearing up the mess that he made. >> edward miliband. >> he is borrowing for failure. that is the reality. and he's borrowing more for failure. that is the reality of his record. and here is the truth, they said they would balance the books. they haven't. they said there would be growth, there isn't. they said britain was out of the danger zone, it's not.
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isn't it the truth he's run out of excuses for the fact that on his watch, because of his decisions, this is the slowest recovery for a hundred years. he talks about failure, we're dealing with year after year of failure from the party opposite. they didn't regulate the banks, they built up the debt and had a unbalanced economy. what is happening under this government is a million private sector jobs, unemployment down since the election, the fastest rate of business correction in recent history, a balance of payment surplus in cars. we're balancing the mess they're making and are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past because they hadn't learned their lesses and why the british public will never trust them with the economy again. >> andrew griffiths. >> thank you, mr. speaker. like the prime minister, i want to see a fresh settlement to europe. british beer drinkers pay 13 times more duty than british
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drinkers. spanish drinkers -- british drinkers pay nine times more duty than spanish drinkers and 10 times more duty than italian drinkers. will he take the chancellor for a pint and tell him to scrap the beer duty escalator and do something for the british pubs and british public? >> my honorable friend, quite rightly speaks for burton. i remember visiting the great brewerry with him during the last election. i am sure that the lance chore will have listened carefully to what he said. i think it's important that we try to support the pub trade in our country. >> mr. speaker, thousands of constituents in poorly insulated homes fear sky high cold weather bills. the government dween deal has 7% interest charges with only five households that signed up
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for it. how does the prime minister achieve that fiasco? >> first of all, i hope the honorable gentleman will welcome the green deal because it gives the households the opportunity to cut costs and should be encouraging his citizens to do that. it's only just begun. the energy company obligation, eco, provides the opportunity to insulate some 230,000 homes a year compared with 80,000 under warm front. instead of talking down these schemes, he should be encouraging his constituents to take them up. >> adrian sanders. >> mr. speaker, two men have drowned in stormy sees off torquay in separate incidents this week despite the efforts of the brave lifeboat crews and the coordination of the coast guard. how will the prime minister reassure the fisherman who pay significant amounts of duty and taxes on their catch that the
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coast guard station is closed the risks will increase? >> it's a good point to pay attention to our coast guard and the dangerous work that they do. as he knows, the government's examination of the coast guard hasn't been about reducing the number of boats or active stations but about the coordination centers and where they're best located and that's an important point to make. >> dave watts. >> mr. speaker, why is it the case that the prime minister is frightened to go and visit a food bank? could it be that he visited -- if he visited one, he'd see the heartless britain that he is creating? >> only yesterday i was discussing with the person who runs the food bank in my constituency, which i will be visiting very shortly. he pointed out to me it was established five years ago and it is worth remembering that food bank use went up 10 times under the last labor
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government. but i think instead of criticizing people who run food banks, we should be thanking them for the work they do. >> richard drax? >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm sure the prime minister will join me in praising all those who work in the search and rescue service. can i ask the prime minister to intervene personally in our battle to save the poor search and rescue helicopter and ask his ministers to come down to dorsett to listen to those who work in the lifesaving service before it is cut. repeated requests so far have been ignored and a visit would be at the least, courteous and wise. >> but i know that my -- the transport -- the former transport secretary of state and other ministers of the department have met with my honorable friend and i'm sure would have listened carefully to what he said as well as paying tribute to the coast guard and it's a good opportunity to pay tribute to the search and rescue services across the country. our reforms are aimed to
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improve average response times by 20% and why we're going ahead with these reforms but i'm sure the ministers will listen carefully to what he said. >> russell brown. >> thank you, prime minister. since you came into office, unemployment has prison by 50% and youth unemployment rich by 9%. my honorable friend made reference to the words in reference to good news will keep coming. would the prime minister be good enough to explain to the house and my constituents exactly what is his definition of "good news" especially in view of the economy that shrank at the end of last year and that that will lead to further economic failure? >> if you look at scotland, in scotland, unemployment has fallen by 14,000 this quarter. it's fallen by 10,000 since the general election. the number of people employed in scotland has actually gone up. and at one point i think it is
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important, because we raised the tax thresholds is 180,000 people across scotland have been taken out of income tax altogether. there's much more we need to do but i think that represents progress. >> sir peter bottomley. >> on syria, it's now clear that the syrian people would be much better off if china and russia not blocked effective action authorized by the united nations. can my honorable friend say what we're doing to try to help the poor people of syria? >> hear, hear. >> well, first of all, my right old friend, the international development secretary has, like me, visited the syrian border and seen the refugee camps for herself and britain, i believe, with is the second largest donor for health and aid into those camps and is right to say one of the biggest thing to happen is for the chinese and russians consider again their positions and recognize the transition at the top of syria would be good for the whole of that part of the world and i believe good for russia as well. we should continue to work with
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the opposition groups in syria to put pressure on the regime, not the least through sanctions, but also provide aid and health for those who are fleeing it. >> graham m. morris? >> thank you, speaker, seaham school of technology serves a growing population and some of the most deprived wards in the country and needs replacement. will the prime minister acknowledge the real reason for the latest proposed pfi funded scene in my constituency is that the banks refuse to lend the money on the 25-year term demanded by his education secretary? will he speak in plain language, maybe in latin, to the education secretary? perhaps he might say -- optamus schola nova, we need a new school? >> i'll leave the latin to the mayor of london but would have a word with the education
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secretary. what i would say to him is it you look at school capital budget as a whole, they are equivalent to what the previous labor government did in their early terms. the money is there. in terms of the banks, the funding lending scheme from the bank of england, evidence shows it is having an effect on lowering interest rates and reforming p.f.i. but also offering infrastructure guarantees, something the treasury never has done before to help projects go ahead. >> damian hinds? >> nothing is more important in the early years education than the caring people delivering it. does the prime minister agree raising the bar and elevating their status will help the prestige to the profession and help parents give children the best start in life? >> i think my honorable friend is absolutely light and -- right and would pay tribute to the department of education produced yesterday in a series of proposals to expand the availability and affordability of childcare while also making sure there is a real quality. we look across europe and see
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countries with good and affordable childcare, there are lessons to learn from them and to those who say change the ratios are wrong, i would say look at the ratios in countries like denmark or france, we're coming into line with those and we, too, can provide more available and affordable childcare so the people who want to go to work are able to because they can find the commiled care they need. >> angus robertson? >> today the scottish government accepted the electoral commission welcomed proposal referendum in full. among the recommendations are that the u.k. government and scottish governments should clarify what process will follow the referendum for either outcome. given the u.k. government and indeed the labor party have called for the full acceptance of the electoral commission's recommendations, will the prime minister today give a commitment he will work with the scottish government in advance of the referendum to come up with this joint position? >> well, first of all, can i welcome the fact that the s.n.p. has accepted what the
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electoral commission found because the electoral commission were worried that frankly it was a biased question. so i think it's good that they accepted that. of course we will work with the scottish government in providing information. but let me be clear about what we won't do. we will not prenegotiate scotland's exit from the united kingdom. 2 it is, frankly, his party that wants to break up the united kingdom and for his party to make the case. >> mr. julian brazier. >> hear. would my rate, honor labble friend confirm, mr. speaker, that the two million-plus surge in net immigration under the last labor government has resulted in severe housing shortages, critical overstretch in our infrastructure, and one household in 20 who don't speak english? would he agree with me that it's in the interest of all british citizens that we're starting to get a grip on our borders? >> hear, hear. >> i think my honorable friend
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is absolutely right. if you take the last decade, net migration to the u.k. was running at 200,000 a year, two million over a decade, the size of birmingham, and was too far and too high and the last government bears a responsibility for not taking responsible decisions. we have taken responsible decisions. we're dealing with, for instance, bogus colleges and bogus students, and the level of net migration has come down by a 1/4. we obviously need to do more in terms of making sure that while we welcome people who want to come here and work from within the european union, we do take a tough approach to make sure people aren't abusing our benefit system. my honorable friend, the immigration minister, is working very hard on this issue and think it's that he does. >> mr. roy. >> the last week prime minister described blacklisting as a completely unacceptable practice. why is he blacklisting food banks by refusing to have the
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decency to visit the food banks to listen -- to actually speak -- he may find it funny but thousands of families do not. but will the prime minister actually speak to the people who use them? >> i think maybe we need to modernize the system so if you get a whip's question, you can get it on a tablet or ipad so you can change the question as time proceeds. but of course, i look forward to having those discussions with the people who operate food banks and those who use food banks. as i said, use of them grew 10 times under the last labor government and instead of attacking them, i think we should praise the people who give of their time to work in these oceans. >> tim farron? >> after a huge committee campaign, the hospital in kendal was identified as a potential site for new radiotherapy unit. in order to deliver this vital service to local people, we'll need flexibility over the
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tariff for radiotherapy fractions. will the prime minister meet with me to see how we can achieve this? >> i think the honorable gentleman makes an important point about the tariff and changes to the tariff. i will arrange for him to meet with the health secretary to discuss this issue. i know from visits to cambry how important the hospital is to his local people and hope the issue can be satisfactoryly resolved. >> gram stringer? >> this week's announcement on the second phase of hs-2 was welcomed in manchester and the whole of north of england. but if this project is really going to have -- make an impact on the north-south divide, wouldn't it make sense to have one hybrid bill and build north to south as well as south to north? >> i look carefully at what the honorable gentleman says. i'm glad there is a all-party welcome for high-speed rail and think it is important we get this done. i think the best way of
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delivering the legislation, the leader of the house will come forward with our plans at the appropriate time. i worry if you change the plans for building the route you delay the overall project and my concern is not that it's going too fast, but if anything is going too slowly. >> sir richard graham? >> last week graham godwin was convicted in clouk esther -- of gloucester of dangerous driving and causing the death of my much respected constituent. paul stock said he was uninsured and not under the laws of this land. the widow believes it is time for parliament to recognize the danger caused by cereal disqualified drivers and also to increase the maximum sentence for dangerous driving. would my right honorable friend ask the justice secretary to look urgently at both these issues? >> i think my honorable friend
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can tell from the response he received around the house that this concern he expressed is shared widely around the house and i would argue widely around the country. the previous government and this government both worked to try to increase some of the penalties associated with drivers who ended up killing people through their recklessness and carelessness. i'll look carefully at what he says and arrange him to meet with the justice secretary. i do think it's important that we give our courts a set that when there are appalling, extraordinary crimes they can take exemplary action and think that is important in a justice system and will look carefully at what he said. >> alex cunningham? >> mr. speaker, on the subject of foot safety, can you confirm traces of stalking horse have been found in the conservative party food chain? >> that was -- i had some where in my briefing, i had some very
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complicated information about the danger of particular drugs for horses entering the food change. -- food chain. i have to say he threw me completely with that ingenious pivot. the conservative party has always stood for people who want to work hard and get on and i'm glad all those behind me take that very seriously indeed. >> sir peter tapsell. >> as my right honorable friend sets forth on his pacific mission to algeria, will he with his great historical knowledge bear in mind that when louis philippe sent his oldest son to algeria in the 1840's, on a similar venture, it took a century, massive casualties, the overthrow of
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the third republic, and the genius of general de gaulle to get the french army back out of the north african desert? >> order! order! i think we want to hear the prime minister's answer to the question. prime minister? >> i can reassure my right honorable friend, i am planning to only visit algiers. but i'm sure the events he put down an honorable question and got a response at the time. >> i'm grateful, mr. speaker. last week the prime minister said that he was paying down britain's debt but on his watch it will go up by $00 billion pounds. would he like to take the opportunity to correct the record?
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>> i'm very clear, we have got the deficit down by a 1/4 and in order to get on top of our debt, you have to get on top of the deficit. that is stage one of getting on top of our debt but it is worth reminding ourselves why we're having to do this in the first place. who was it who racked up the debt? who was it that racked up the deficit? who was it that gave us the biggest deficit of any country virtually anywhere in the world? it was the government which he supported. >> if the prime minister agrees that the shortage of engineering skills is one of the greatest avoidable threats to our prosperity and security and that the participation of women in engineering is scandalously low, will he encourage his colleagues to look favorably on the provisions of my bill to ask the young people to seek technology and engineering to
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take up their careers. >> i will say that in the data released today, one of the encouraging signs is the number of people studying engineering and computer science has gone up quite radically frankly to raise the status of engineering, encourage engineering, are having any effect. >> the government has just introduced two new taxes which will cost people wanting to build their own home between 25000 and 35,000 pounds per family. why are you choosing to prop a block on the aspirations of people who wants to know their own homes? >> we are encouraging people to build their own homes and by their own homes, not least by the reform of the planning system that has seen the planning guidance go from 1000 pages 250 pages. that is why we are encouraging the rights to buy.
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if the honorable members want to help, they might want to talk to the labor authorities that are continuing to prevent people from buying their council housing association homes. >> would've my right honorable friend wish to congratulate the company in my constituency, who have taken advantage of the capital announced in your statement and purchased a 1.3 million pound machine that will create six new jobs and deliver cars? >> i certainly join my honorable friend in welcoming that investment. his experience, the campaign he has been launching, did have any effect in bringing forward these proposals on capital allowances. it is absolutely clear -- a lot of businesses do have money locked up in their balance sheet that we want to see investing. i believe these allowances are a
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good way of encouraging bringing forth that investment. >> a man is severely disabled and has a medical need for an next room in his home. why is the government taking 676 pounds a year away from him in order to pay for a tax cut for the richest? >> we put in place a 13 million pounds discretionary funds to help in particular cases like the one he raises, but we do have an overall situation where the housing benefit its budget is now 23 billion pounds. that is only 10 billion pounds less than the entire defense budget, and it is not good enough for members opposite to oppose welfare cut after welfare cut, to propose welfare spend after welfare spend, well they realize we are dealing with the mess they left. >> does the prime minister agree that when the leader of the opposition talks about the
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economy, he sounds just like a victorian undertaker looking forward to a hard winter? does he not accept that you cannot get out of a debt crisis by borrowing more money? >> my honorable friend makes a very good point. the fact is that the economy we inherited was completely unbalanced. it was based on housing, based on finance, based on government spending, and based on immigration. those are for incredibly unstable pillars for sustained economic growth. what we had to do was a major recovery operation -- that is still underway. you can see in the new jobs created, the private sector businesses that are expanding, the new people setting up his messes, we are making progress. >> following up -- will the prime minister laid before the
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house the key differences between the throat cutting g how this fighting -- jihadists fighting the dictatorship in mali who we are now supposed to kill and the equally violent jihadists who -- jihadists who we are giving support to in syria? has the president written -- read "frankenstein?" >> wherever there is a brutal arab dictator in the world, he will have the support of the honorable gentleman. >> order. >> unfortunately, we are forced to live with them, but we can definitely do without them. will my right honorable friend will my right honorable friend tell u